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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 09-26-2013
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The Future of Boat Ownership

I just read “The End of the Suburbs. Where the American Dream is Moving” by Leigh Gallagher, Assistant Managing Editor of Fortune Magazine.

The book is not about the end of the suburbs but the shifting pattern in housing. It concentrates on a lot of shifting trends in the US Home Real Estate market. A significant portion of the book discusses the Millenial Generation–their future economic opportunity, buying trends, their outlook on life. In short it is the description of this generations values and what guides their purchasing decisions. The millenial generation is a full 33% larger than the baby boom generation, yet at the sme time their ability to emjoy this sport is diminishing.

This books talks about the Millenial generation as not wanting to purchase cars, large homes, and other items that have been the backbone of the “American Dream” since the end of WW II. There is data to back this up and it is adjusted for the economic conditions we all have been experiencing. If this generation is not interested in owning large homes, and less interested in sharing cars, how is the boating industry going to get this genetration to be boat owners? In my opinion, this generation will share boats the way they want to share cars. I think the one-owner boat model is dieing for the majority of the boat-owning public.


I fear the participation in sailing is going to decrease over time.
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Old 09-26-2013
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

The sport of sailing is like any other individual sport and I think they're all on the decline somewhat... the ones that need capital investment. Fishing boats and ski boats are not going to go away. If there's a will, there's a way old Tom will have his fishing boat. The larger sailboats and smaller yachts that need to sit in the water... I think we'll start to see multiple ownership, leasing etc.. and possibly fewer "new" ones. I'm 56 now and just got the sailboat I've wanted all my life. What my kids generation is going to do... your guess is as good as mine.

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Old 09-26-2013
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamsailor View Post
I fear the participation in sailing is going to decrease over time.
I've said it before in these types of threads and I'll say it again, what is with the "fear" of the declining interest in sailing??? I just don't get it.

If you like sailing, and have a boat, and are out there doing it, as I am, then I just don't see why anyone cares what anyone else cares about.

In fact, if the waters in which I sail become less crowded over time, great!

I don't need other people to enjoy sailing for me to enjoy sailing.
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Old 09-26-2013
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

I think you're probably right. I would also like to point out that millenials have a huge range of sports and activities available to them and are interested in doing lots of activites and not necessarily tying themselves down with boat ownership.

I'm 29 (Tail end of Gen X) and I see alot of the same trends in my own life. Although we could afford much larger, we bought a small house with a small mortgage. We only own one car and do not intend to get another. We paid off my student loans in 2 years of extreme frugal living.

I love sailing and I would love to own a boat, but we can't commit to spending all of our brief vacations and weekends on board. We have too many other things to do. So we obtained the ICC in order to bareboat and intend to do one charter trip per year.

In addition - None of our friends or family are even remotely into sailing. They look at us like we're crazy when we talk about it.
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Old 09-26-2013
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

Much of this I think is also driven by access to waterfront. If we keep going down the path of putting a mooring field in every anchorage and closing off shore access due to waterfront private development, then the enjoyment of the waterways is greatly diminished.

If it gets to that, why even have a large cruising boat. I'd prefer a trailer sailor or small dinghy like a sunfish, laser, or even a 420. Perhaps that is the trend, as I was surprised by the big deal the Beneteau has made about their First 20 and 25 lately...trailerables
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Old 09-26-2013
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

"This books talks about the Millenial generation as not wanting to purchase cars, large homes, and other items that have been the backbone of the “American Dream” since the end of WW II."

I am not entirely sure it is not wanting those things. I am 35, college educated and work two jobs to keep afloat financially. I am not in debt other than a car loan, but affording a house, having more than one car, or buying a boat are not financially viable options for me.
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

Quote:
Originally Posted by caberg View Post
I've said it before in these types of threads and I'll say it again, what is with the "fear" of the declining interest in sailing??? I just don't get it.

If you like sailing, and have a boat, and are out there doing it, as I am, then I just don't see why anyone cares what anyone else cares about.

In fact, if the waters in which I sail become less crowded over time, great!

I don't need other people to enjoy sailing for me to enjoy sailing.
For many people sailing is a mix of both a solo and a social activity. The lake I grew up on had an active "Yacht" club which held weekly races of multiple dinghy classes along with an annual invitational.

In spite of a having much more affluent local population today and being one of the largest lakes in the metro region there is no longer any regular racing on the lake. The Yacht Club still exists as far as I know but has a declining and aging membership.

This means that for the people on the area there are fewer opportunities to race or even share their love of sailing with one another. Not only that but sailboat dealers are fewer and farther between. Parts (and boats) get more expensive because manufacturers deal in smaller volumes. Right now there is a glut of old boats on the market but this will change over time as fewer new boats are being made.

I don't think this is strictly tied to economics. There are lots of leisure activities that are not only cheaper but less time consuming and which can be enjoyed with little or no learning curve. Pretty much anybody can hop on a personal watercraft and be zipping across the water in a mater of minutes. Same with kayaks or paddleboards.

I belong to a local sailing club and what is astonishing to me is the high percentage of people in technical fields that are members. Just a guess, but I'd say for these people, learning and honing the somewhat arcane skill and language of sailing is part of the attraction.

Last edited by unimacs; 09-26-2013 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 09-26-2013
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

For what it's worth, I'm definitely one of those people. I'm a life-long renter at 40 and I don't own a car. With regards to home-ownership, I can't begin to understand why people want to mow lawns and deal with condo boards in their free time. Car ownership was also a drag - I ride my Vespa or take Metro or use ride-share programs (Zipcar) and taxis to get around.

If I could rent a sailboat I would do that. If there was a sailboat sharing program that worked nearly as good as Zipcar, I would be right on that. But I've looked and most of the options are pretty bad. Maybe there's a young sailor out there building the Zipcar of the sailing world, but I suspect there are very few locations with enough sailors to make it worth their while.
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

Interesting program on NPR recently that compared society today to the baby boomers & it kind of plays into this.

When I grew up everyone wanted that first car. We didn't have 3 TV's in the house & all the social sites that are internet dependent. If we wanted to get together with friends outside of school we needed wheels or peddled our 10 speeds around town.

Times have changed. You can sit in the comfort of your home & stay in touch with all 700 of your Facebook friends
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Old 09-26-2013
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Re: The Future of Boat Ownership

Quote:
Originally Posted by caberg View Post
I've said it before in these types of threads and I'll say it again, what is with the "fear" of the declining interest in sailing??? I just don't get it.

If you like sailing, and have a boat, and are out there doing it, as I am, then I just don't see why anyone cares what anyone else cares about.

In fact, if the waters in which I sail become less crowded over time, great!

I don't need other people to enjoy sailing for me to enjoy sailing.
It goes to economy of scale. If there is not enough demand for sailboats, then fewer of them will be produced. The ones that will be produced will be out of the price range of most people. It will become a sport only for the likes of the Liptons, Ellisons, etc. etc.
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